Ask A Divorce Lawyer: What are my rights as a grandparent to visit my grandchild?

Question:

My son and his wife signed a custody agreement that gives him joint custody and visitation for two weeknights a week with their 7-month-old baby until the child is 3 years old. He doesn’t get weekends or holidays, and it seems like he won’t fight it because he’s interested in getting her back so he does whatever she says.

How can I at least get visitation and time with my grandchild? What are my rights as a grandparent? I just want to be able to take her for ice cream on a summer Saturday afternoon.

 

Answer:  
Each state has different provisions which control requests for grandparent visitation.  In most states, there are statutes which allow grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren or a court ordered visitation schedule.  However, fit custodial parents have a due process right to the care, custody and control of their children which includes the right to decide who the child will associate with. There are likely statutory guidelines which dictate when a grandparent can obtain visitation rights which will be largely based on the Court’s determination of the child’s best interest.  You should contact a domestic litigation attorney with experience in grandparent visitation cases right away.

 

Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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